Second semester for high schools and colleges are off to a running start. I am already deep in homework and immersed in my new studies; however, it is time for that usual check in to see if I am moving in the direction that is going to make me happy.
After being diagnosed with epilepsy, I struggled to take my own path towards happiness. I had a diagnosis which made me feel incredibly separate from the rest of the world. Many days I worried that I would drop in front of everyone and seize, losing time and more independence. I cried often about not being able to drive or to have my own children. To make up for it, I tried to fit in with the rest of the world in every way possible. This momentarily provide comfort to the struggles that I was facing every day; yet, it was not enough to compensate for the dependence that epilepsy brought to my life.
Somewhere in my second semester of freshmen year of college while working on an assignment for a course, I started to put together the puzzle that was happiness and peace. with my life and my diagnosis. I took a writing course that spring, and one of the assignments I had to complete include filling a two hundred page journal. Sometimes my professor would give us prompts to help us write. Other times, he just told us to find a wonderful cafe and just be in the moment. The writing would flow, if we could just release.
Somewhere between the various cafes I found myself occupying and many cups of tea, I found the crumbs to follow. I begin to recognize the little bits of life which made me instantly happy. Talking to my then boyfriend (now fiance) could in a single heartbeat improve my day. Walking up and down campus breathing the fresh air calmed my nerves. Songs magically improved my mood. Volunteering took away my worries. All the happiness I could have ever wanted had been always right in front of me. It just took writing it down on the page and seeing it with my eyes to believe it.
Now, I still write in journals like that one freshmen year, but I have a different take on it. I no longer have to see it to believe it. The simple trick to finding that happiness in spite of a disability, setback, diagnosis, or whatever is bothering you in life is to simple believe it. Once you believe it, you will see it.
So every new spring semester since freshmen year, I check in with myself
to make sure that I am still in focus with those simple graces in life
which bless me every day. As of today, I am wrapping up my senior year,
have made sometime to volunteer each week, run to keep my mind at peace,
and make sure I spent at least a bit of each day with the people I hold
most dear. I could not ask for a more beautiful start to 2014.